Currently at the helm of the Futuro Group, in Ecuador, businessman Fernando Navarro now dedicates his time to working for citizenship through the Futuro Foundation (www.fundacionfuturo.org.ec), of which he is president. Former president of the National Federation of the Quito Chamber of Commerce and also former under secretary of his country’s Ministry of Mines and Energy, Navarro started working in the social sector nearly five years ago and he still considers himself only at the very beginning. After participating for the first time in the Itinerant Seminars in 2004, he now talks in this interview about this experience that encouraged him to continue investing in citizenship actions.
How did you become aware of the seminar and why did it interest you?
I was invited by Ecuador’s Esquel Foundation to participate in this seminar and at the occasion I met the Kellogg Foundation representative, who was presenting the [Brazilian NGO] Business Action for Citizenship. The event was extremely satisfactory. We were able to learn about everything that’s done in Brazil, we met some very interesting people from other countries and we learned the tools of the Ethos Institute. We also know that we can draw on the experience of Business Action.
How did you help your community redress social problems?
The Futuro Foundation conducts work that helps raise awareness among indigenous communities to improve their quality of life, by promoting an integration between the culture of the regions where we are present and Western systems, picking the most positive values and aspects of each one. The Foundation has developed a Community Health Insurance System with two private sector organizations in the provinces of Cotopaxi (North Cotopaxi Union of Peasant Organizations, UNOCANC) and Tungurahua (COCAP). Besides this, we run a microcredit program in the communities of UNOCANC and an educational and environmental program in the communities of COCAP.
What has changed since these projects were introduced?
The projects have raised the level of awareness among all members of the community about their health. By means of training lectures on different themes, we have succeeded in prevailing upon parents to adopt family planning, as well as having reduced the level of malnutrition among children and improved hygiene and personal care.
What still needs to be done?
Repeat the project with other communities and engage new private companies for financing purposes. We also need to promote the system and keep on training members of communities to create awareness. In addition to this, it would also be interesting at international conferences to arrange an exchange of these types of projects and experiences.
Published in Interaction nº 9